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22 Feb 2011

Maria Maria 1511/2011 at Muzeum Montanelli, Prague

The Coronation of the Virgin, 1510, page 18 and Hover, 2009,
Floor installation with 365 lambs and women made from glycerin soap
3:28 min video projection and sound.

Maria Maria 1511/2011
Muzeum Montanelli


18th February – 22nd May 2011 Opening hours: Mon – Sat: 12 – 6 pm , Sun: 12 – 4 pm

Jana Kleinova

Muzeum Montanelli
Nerudova 13
11801 Praha 1
Czech Republic

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The „Maria Maria 1511/2011' exhibition is the result of a collaboration between the Montanelli Museum in Prague and the Felix Nussbaum House/Museum of Cultural History in Osnabrück, who will loan Prague their collection of graphic works by Albrecht Dürer which forms the core of the exhibition. The Montanelli Museum is engaged in the presentation of contemporary art and will complement these 500-year-old prints by the renaissance master with three installations and video-projections by the American artist Teresa Diehl, who was born in Lebanon. In summer 2011 this exhibition will transfer to Osnabrück in Germany where it will be augmented by works of the Israeli artist Sigalit Landau (who will represent Israel at the 2011 Venice Biennale) and Ulrike Rosenbach, one of the most significant of today's German artists.

The theme of the exhibition proclaims itself in the very title: Mary in 1511 and Mary today. 500 years ago Albrecht Dürer revolutionized the portrayal of Mary and women in art generally, a standard from which artists down the ages have drawn inspiration over and over again. This selection of Dürer's works allows the viewer, without deference to the Christian interpretation of salvation, to ask whether Dürer's portrayal of a woman is still relevant. This question is backed up by current works of art, which touch on the themes of motherhood, femininity and salvation, even when freed from a direct religious context, enriching the exhibition in another aspect – in our individual memories from childhood, the craving for security and tenderness. This confirms that Durers's works can be viewed not simply as religious scenes and that from this perspective they become timeless.

The largest section of the exhibition is taken up by Dürer's woodcut cycle the „Life of the Virgin' first published in book form in 1511. The cycle recounts the biblical tale from Mary's birth, through her initiation in the temple, her betrothal, the annunciation, visitation, the birth of Jesus Christ, the adoration of the magi, to beyond Mary's death, her ascension and veneration.

A further part of the exhibition will be the theme of motherly love. On one sheet Dürer shows the spirited, almost incorporeal Mother of God, then on the second sheet he portrays the physical relationship between mother and child. Aspects of motherly love are also dealt with directly by Teresa Diehl in the installation „The Return of Pleasure'. Neither the wholly different techniques of both artists nor their dissimilar artistic expressions impede the deep spiritual and emotional affinity of their works.

The exhibition culminates with two woodcuts and one copper-plate engraving of the Mother of God as Queen of Heaven „symbol of God's eternal blessing', as the original Dürer drawing.

A special complementary program will be appended to the exhibition by the Goethe Institute of Prague. Visitors to the museum will be able to pick up a map that will take them in the footsteps of a number of Marian portrayals dating from between 1511 to 2011. This walking tour was conceived in cooperation with the National Gallery in Prague and Strahov Monastery.

The exhibition will be supplemented by a program for youth groups, school classes and students, which can be seen on the Montanelli Museum web pages.

The „Maria Maria 1511/2011' exhibition comes under the auspices of the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany.

The exhibition has been supported by the Lower Saxony Foundation which administers the works by Dürer from the Konrad Liebmann Foundation, as well as by the Czech-German Fund for the Future.